Wildcard Fallout

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GW3 was a pretty spectacular week for a lot of FPL managers.

Spectacularly bad.
Spectacularly frustrating.
Spectacularly unpredictable.

Wildcarding into that week, looking back with hindsight, wasn’t ideal. So, looking back, this article will go through the decisions I made and the outlook for the coming weeks.

Why Wildcard?

This was actually an easy decision. One that I made preseason before a ball was kicked, predominantly for three key reasons:

  1. To enable me to easily jump onto City/Utd/Burnley assets early on. Oh, and Villa, I guess.
  2. To have two opening gameweeks where I could be aggressive with players I knew I could then dump.
  3. To benefit from any early price changes and gain some team value.

And they were prioritised in that order – the first point for me was key.
By getting those players in (along with players from teams that had fixture swings such as Wolves) it meant that I wasn’t spending my transfers from weeks 2-6 (ish) getting them in, or taking hits to do so quicker. Meanwhile, while I would be spending my free transfers on those players, I would then be missing out on other form or value players that emerge from the opening few weeks.

So that was the rationale. I could happily pick Arsenal assets such as Aubameyang and Willian, Saints picks Walker-Peters and Che Adams, and further short-term punts such as Antonio and Alli, hope to get off to a flier, and then ditch most of them.

Week 1 went OK – 58 points and a GW rank of 1.8m. That felt fine to me, and I was a Salah captaincy (rather than Aubameyang) away from it being a very good start. Week 2 wasn’t so good – 43 points and a GW rank of 5.3m, dropping me down to 3.8m OR, with a lack of Calvert-Lewin, KDB, Son or Kane really taking it’s toll. So at this point I’m more than happy to continue with my original plan, and I hit the button.

New look team

Rightly or wrongly, I actually settled on the majority of players early on in the week. I knew I wanted a 3-5-2 setup, and I had a core of players that I was very keen on – Ryan/4.0 in goal; TAA, Saiss and Mitchell in defence; Salah, KDB and Foden in midfield; and Jimenez and Jesus up front. The Aguero news, in my mind, was perfect timing, as it enabled me to get a Man City no9 for 9.5m who had just 2.1% ownership (at that time).

Further to that core, some other players had shone in the first two weeks and caught my eye. James Rodriguez, Podence, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, predominantly. At his price and with their fixtures, Podence was an easy inclusion. The Everton players, though, I found more difficult to choose from. Within the structure I found it hard to stretch the budget to Richarlison, so he was out, and while I wanted both Rodriguez and Calvert-Lewin, I wasn’t prepared to drop either Jesus or Jimenez, which left me with the decision of either going with a 3-4-3, dropping Rodriguez and rolling with DCL, or sticking with the 3-5-2 and having no DCL.

It was a tough call, but I felt that with the multitude of midfield options available this season I wanted Rodriguez in there at 7.5m to enable my flexibility later on. For further context, in the potential 3-4-3 I mentioned, Foden at 6.5m would have been my 3rd midfielder, with nothing in between him and KDB at 11.5m. I didn’t like that setup.

So I’m quite settled, feeling OK about it. And then comes to Jesus news! At this point, given my previous dilemma, what (in hindsight) I should have done was simply move Jesus to DCL and either bank the difference or invest that budget into defence. But, I wanted to maintain that more expensive striker slot to allow more flex in easily getting to the likes of Vardy, Kane, and Martial, so instead, I moved to Timo Werner. Ouch.

The final draft

Ryan / 4.0m
TAA / Saiss / Justin / C Taylor / Mitchell
Salah / KDB / Rodriguez / Foden / Podence
Werner / Jimenez / Brewster

So there it was, a balanced squad with a couple of rotating 4.5m defenders, a super looking midfield, and decent attackers. Plenty of flexibility, and a team built for the upcoming fixtures.

I’d decided that Man Utd could wait. They had looked, frankly, terrible against Palace, and looking at their fixtures I wasn’t convinced at all by needing their assets at this point.

The Result

Well, it couldn’t have gone much worse!

No clean sheets. No goals. Just two assists.

Oh, and an own goal!

29 points, a GW rank of 6.1m, and a red arrow down to 4.6m OR. WOW.

Was it all a failure, then?

It would be easy to look at the results of GW3 and think yes, but I don’t think that’s the case. Leicester aren’t getting 3 penalties every week. Man City aren’t conceding 5 each week. Wolves aren’t going to fall apart and concede 4 each week. Et cetera, et cetera.

I look at my team for GW4 and 8/11 players are up against Fulham, Aston Villa, Leeds, and West Ham. That gives me confidence immediately. For clarity, I’ve already made the move of Werner to DCL, hopefully correcting my earlier error as quickly as possible.

I then look at the key players in my team and their next four fixtures and I’m still feeling positive:

City: lee-ARS-whu-shu
Wolves: FUL-lee-NEW-CPL
Liverpool: avl-eve-SHU-WHU
Everton: BHA-LIV-sou-new

I gained 0.8 in team value last week. I have the price points in place that I want and allows me enormous flexibility, and I have a set of players who I’m happy to set and forget for a long time, providing opportunities to then tinker around the edges as new information arises.

A wildcard is never for one week (although some points in that first week would be nice), and I have to think that the best is yet to come.

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